I’m not sure what exactly made me think to write this, but regardless, it’s an important issue. Let’s talk about legislation here in America. This won’t be as boring as it sounds, I promise. Well I hope not at least.
First of all, as always, I want to get outside the box a little. What is a law? Well, here’s the formal definition:
a (1) : a binding custom or practice of a community : a rule of conduct or action prescribed or formally recognized as binding or enforced by a controlling authority
b (1) : the control brought about by the existence or enforcement of such law
c : control, authority
Now for the digestible version. The simplest way I can explain a law (at least in the context applicable to us as a populace) is that it’s a fundamental transfer of the right to make a decision from yourself to the “authorities”, on the basis that it will benefit the community. So a very small group of special people get to decide what’s “right” and what’s “wrong”. Granted, these are people WE voted for – but that doesn’t mean their views are always going to align with ours. Or that they campaigned on genuine perspectives to begin with.
In other words, you lose the right to decide for yourself how fast you can drive, or what substances you can put in your body, or who you can/cannot marry, or where you can/cannot travel, and so on. That’s what a law is, effectively. Now this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, in many cases. Heck, in most cases I would even say it’s a good idea. It creates order and prevents chaos. However, when it begins to expand and expand to the point that we can’t even have a telephone conversation without knowing if the metadata of the call is being recorded – that’s cause for alarm. And for the “if you’re not hiding anything what does it matter” people, it’s not about that. It’s about principle. The country in which we live was not founded to be constantly surveilled. That was kind of the whole point to begin with….they wanted freedom. Total, unrestricted, freedom.
Most of the time, at least when it comes to illegal activities, we look at the world and think “well I can’t do that, it’s illegal”. Very seldom do we question why that’s the case, though. Sure, we do if we’re put in a corner or if we’re SO angry about a cause or movement that we finally stand up – but usually we just let things be, and go on living our lives. Which is fine! If you don’t care about stuff like this, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. But for a lot of us, it symbolizes a regime that’s slowly beginning to reflect the very thing we fought to free ourselves from in the first place.
I think this tendency to brush things under the carpet is a dangerous precedent to set for ourselves. Not only because it inhibits proper checks and balances, but because it numbs us further and further from generation to generation. The more we grow up learning that the status quo is what it is whether we like it or not, the more we begin to accept it.
I’d like to point out one thing before moving on. Look at the third bullet point of the formal definition of law. I think that summarizes pretty accurately what we’re feeling these days. We feel controlled, almost manipulated in some cases. It’s time we start feeling like we have a little breathing room for once. I’m talking financially AND culturally.
So what can be done about all this, you probably ask? I suppose that’s the next logical question. Well, I would think the first step is stuff like this blog, people’s social media accounts, etc. – simply creating awareness. That’s why I think it’s important to share things like this. The more people are exposed to independent thought, the more they can free their own minds. Not only that, but it encourages that intangible sense of community. Sort of a cause we’re all fighting for, you know? That’s not something you can just create out of nowhere, and that’s one of the most powerful tools a group of people can wield.
Aside from creating awareness, I suppose the short-term strategy would be to make sure we vote for the least corrupt administration in the coming election. The jury’s still out on who exactly that might be, but honestly I’m thinking it would come down to Sanders and Trump. Some of you m ay disagree with that (which I respect), but that’s my honest opinion. Both of them seem to go against the grain and say what they want to say rather than what people want them to say. I like that (shocker).
And from there, the long term plan I suppose would be to coordinate an entire reform of how we function as a society (if we haven’t fixed it by then). That’s an enormous undertaking, but as history has proved, it can be done by people who are determined enough.
That’s just my take, as always. Feel free to think I’m an idiot.